A passion to help, a talent with numbers

Jun 29, 2014 @ 12:01 am

By Liz Skinner

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Kelly McNerney came to William Paterson University with the goal of becoming a high school math teacher. Two years later she changed her mind, trading in her desire to help teens for a career helping clients plan secure financial futures.

“The financial planning director told me that if I had a passion for helping others and a talent working with numbers, that going from math teacher to financial adviser isn't as big of a change as it seems,” she said.

Two years and two internships later, she's graduating with a Bachelor of Science in financial planning. Ms. McNerney, 21, even managed to become the president of the student chapter of the Financial Planning Association during her last year at William Paterson.

Ms. McNerney began working as an associate financial planner this month for FJY Financial in Reston, Va.

She accepted the position with the well-known firm after being offered two other planning jobs and a scholarship toward earning a master's degree in financial planning at Texas Tech University.

Ms. McNerney, a native of Haskell, N.J., said she chose FJY Financial after a two-day interview process because it seemed to embrace a culture of working together and pitching in to help each other. She'll be working as part of a team, but the particular team members will change depending on the client.

“I will be able to learn from all who are above me,” she said. “Everyone has a different style of teaching.”

On each team she'll work with senior advisers and eventually sit in on client meetings and be a point of contact for clients.

One day she hopes to own her own firm, but for now is focused on gaining experience in the industry.

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